A Look Into Gov. Cuomo's Campaign Fundraising
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is sitting on nearly $20 million for his next gubernatorial campaign. He is raising money at a fast and steady clip even as he champions the need for campaign finance reform. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
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There are donations from the Hollywood set from people like Darren Star, who created the show "Sex and the City." He gave Gov. Andrew Cuomo's re-election campaign $10,000. Stephen Bing, another Producer gave the governor nearly $60,000.
Supermarket magnate and possible 2013 Republican mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis shows up a couple of times on the governor's donor list, which was filed late last Friday. As does Leslie Zemsky, described on this tourism website as a "booster" for the city of Buffalo. She gave $40,000 and her husband gave $15,000, although his donation was later returned. Gov. Cuomo announced a $1 billion economic development plan for the city of Buffalo earlier this year.
But mostly, it is real estate interests, such as Stephen Ross of Related Companies. He and his wife gave Cuomo $25,000. They also hosted a fundraiser for Mitt Romney back in January.
"You see a wide variety of people giving but you do see a lot of real estate interests giving to the governor because there is a lot at stake for the real estate community in New York, particularly in New York City," said Dick Dadey of Citizens Union.
Some gave large individual donations, like real estate developer Gary Barnett, who contributed $50,000. But it was Leonard Litwin who gave the most, with nearly $250,000.
"Contribution limits are just over $60,000 per donor but there are several loopholes in the law," said Bill Mahoney of the New York Public Interest Research Group. "For example, LLCs, which are typically an incorporated type of business, are allowed to give at the level of an individual. Mr. Litwin controls dozens of these LLCs."
The governor has more than $19 million in his campaign war chest. He has raised money at a rate of roughly $1 million per month since taking office for an election that is still more than two years away.
"Even if he doesn't have competition, he can still make himself more popular," Mahoney said. "If he's looking, say, to boost his national image and present himself as somebody who is loved by everyone in the state which he governs, it would look a lot better if he got 75 percent of the vote instead of 60.
Cuomo has vowed to take up campaign finance reform. Insiders say it could happen in a special session later this year.